This week during my practicum, my associated teacher had a group with learning disabilities and one of the students had on his laptop a software that helped him to write. I thought it was interesting and at the end of the class, I asked the teacher what was the name of the software that the student was using. She told me that it was called ‘WordQ’, a software that help students to write texts. She also mentioned that the student had dyslexia. Since I had no clue about how it worked and that I may have to know it in the futur, I wanted to get more information about this software.
Basically, WordQ is an application that will provide several words to the user while he or she is writing. It can also provide an audio version of the text that is written. This software works while working on word processors, writing emails, and writing on the web. The only thing the students, or the instructor, has to do, is making sure the program is on before they start to write. Another interesting fact about this software, is that every user has a sort of ‘profile’ to which they have to log on. In fact, the teacher creates a new user in WordQ, they have to select, for example, the student’s level in english. This way, the users have words that are at their levels of learning. Moreover, as the Old Schoolhouse Magazine mentions, even thought the software offers many options, it is still easy to use.
As stated on About Education, children who have trouble writing will also lack confidence in situations where they have to do so. They will also have hard times putting their ideas into words, which will eventually create a feeling of aversion when it comes to write texts. However, using this software enables students to improve their writing skills, since the program get them to use the proper words in order to get their ideas across. The more they use the software, the better their skills are improving!
As a matter of fact, Barb Buteyn, a Teacher Consultant for Physical Impairments and Brain Injury, commented in an article about WordQ:
With wordQ, [my student] is using a larger vocabulary, doing better on all his written work and has become much more confident as a student. He can finally show that he is an intelligent student without the writing problems interfering. Thank you!
Unfortunately, a program such as WordQ is not free. The prices go around $185, but most schools have license of the program or similar programs available and free to use for students.
The way I, as a teacher, would introduce it in my classes is really straightforward. Each time the students would be asked to write something, they would have access to the program while writing. The perfect scenario would be in a computer laboratory, where every student can have access to the software. Even if some of them have higher levels of writing skills, they could still benefit form the program and improve their abilities.
Because in the end, we never stop learning new things!